Let's talk about the labor market. The other day I saw something on TV that was very scary to me. They were showing a manufacturer using robots to do the work. It is amazing what those robots can do. And the employer doesn't have to deal with personal problems or union issues, etc. How many technical men would you need to repair any breakdowns? Who's going to have money to buy the products the robots make? No one will have a job.
Recently, I have heard we have a problem because the number of farmers has really gone down; but is production going down? I don't think so. What's going to happen to our farmers?
This reminded me of an experience we saw in Cairo, Egypt. The Peace Corps and some manufacturers went into Egypt to teach the farmers how to increase their production. They brought with them up-to-date machinery and taught them how to produce more, and this machinery meant fewer human laborers were needed. Guess what happened? After the teaching program was over, the foreman put all of the new machinery aside and called all his relatives to come back to work. They needed their jobs. That was in 1990. Is progress always good? How do we cope with the drawbacks of "efficiency?"
Now let's look at the immigration problem. We have millions of illegal immigrants. Some people have said we have up to 11 million. I've even heard we have up to 23 million! Now who brought these people into our country? Were they being altruistic; were they concerned for these people who had been struggling in their native countries prior to coming to the U.S. - mostly from Mexico? Hardly. The people ferrying these illegal immigrants into our country are greedy, inhumane people who use these immigrants. Most immigrants are in such dire need of a better life that they will risk all their savings, and even their lives, for a chance to come to the United States. Many are innocent; many are even children. But the human traffickers smuggling them into our country are getting rich from them. Drug dealers are among some of the worst offenders.
Then there are farmers who appreciate the cheap labor that illegal immigrants are willing to do. They should be arrested. Illegal immigrants are also willing to do other manual labor, like roofing and construction, and are willing to work long hours. Why don't Americans want to do this work, especially when there are so many on welfare?
Many of these illegals wind up in jail. We all know how expensive that is. It costs taxpayers thousands of dollars per year - up to $45 thousand - per prisoner. So the person who hired the illegal aliens for their cheap labor has made money from them, but now the taxpayers have to pick up the tab for them in prison. What's wrong with this picture? It's cheaper to pay for their return ticket to where they came from.
Let's look at the babies born in the United States. Yes, they have citizenship if they were born here, but this doesn't give citizenship to their parents. They should know that if they get caught living here illegally, they will have to make the choice between either taking their children with them, or leaving their children here with someone else or placing them for adoption.
We can't afford to keep doing what we're doing. Our country is going broke. Illegal immigration is out of control, and it's only going to get worse.
This may sound like a negative column, but if we have a problem, we need to talk about it in order to solve it. So this is a positive column if it leads to something being done.
While I'm at it, I'm going to go after the lobbyists and the politicians who stay in office just long enough to set themselves up to become lobbyists. They are all buying influence! Against us!
The ruling that really gets my blood boiling is the Supreme Court ruling that candidates can spend as much as they want on campaigns! How can we have government of the people, for the people, and by the people when our representatives are in the pockets of wealthy donors who can sway them in any way the rich donors want? There should be a cap on campaign spending, so all of the candidates spend the same amount. It should be affordable for any candidate who is capable of winning. Along with that the term for campaigning should be set at three to six months. Then the candidates would say what they want us to hear. I know the media, who gets rich on these elections, are aiming their guns at me. Sorry fellas.
Now I'm going to end on a happy note. I was watching the "Dr. Oz" show. They were talking about coping with stress. The doctor suggested we meditate by imagining water at the beach and focus on the sounds of the water. I grinned from ear to ear because when I ran a beauty salon out of my basement, and I had had a really long day of work, I would go upstairs to my bedroom, lie down and pretend I was at our cottage in Van Buren Bay. I would visualize the lake and hear the water lapping at the shore. It really worked to relieve stress and it didn't cost me a cent. Speaking of "cent," I have to tell you about a letter.
I got a letter from Richard DeJohn. He's in the coin business now and his card reads "Uncommon Cents." He always was creative!
Also, I want to make an announcement. Help is wanted for our group on rejuvenating Chautauqua County. We need someone with computer skills to help find information. Maybe someone who is retired and has some free time? Please call me at 679-4772 if interested.
Margaret Valone is a Fredonia resident. Send comments on this column to firstname.lastname@example.org